Montana is a marvelous ski destination, defined by diverse terrain ranging from the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. There are numerous mountains in the state and its name was actually derived from the term “montaña”, which means mountain in Spanish. Despite being the largest state in the U.S, Montana has a sparse population just shy of a million residents. This is a positive thing for skiing enthusiasts, as this usually means less people to compete with at the ski resorts. Skiing in Montana is relatively cheap, including the accommodation, food, and equipment rentals. The snow quality and quantity is also quite impressive. In particular, Big Sky and Moonlight Basin, two of the biggest ski resorts in the region, receive a staggering 400 inches of snow per season. Bridger Bowl boasts 350 inches of cold smoke powder every winter. Here is a more comprehensive review of the top five ski resorts in Montana in 2017.
Bridger Bowl Ski Area – From $160
Bridger Bowl Ski Area boasts 2000 acres of skiable terrain with light and fluffy snow. The resort receives an average of 350 inches of snow yearly and has a vertical rise of 2,700ft serviced by 8 chairlifts. The terrain is suitable for different types of riders and skiers, from beginners to experts, and has a twenty-minute hike that is famous for its open powder fields and steep chutes. There are seventy five named trails that vary from simple to advanced to expert. The “Ski the Cloud smoke” experience and small-town atmosphere makes the resort very family friendly.
Additional amenities include a hotel shuttle, rental & retail shop, daycare, as well as a complete ski & snowboard school. Guests also have access to two lodges, one at mid-mountain and another at the base. These offer a wide range of meals and drinks, including a gourmet coffee bar and fireside table service.
Whitefish Mountain Resort – From $78
Whitefish Mountain Resort, previously referred to as “Big Mountain Ski Resort,” is one of the most popular ski areas in Montana. The resort was renamed in 2007, subsequently transforming into a world-class ski destination while retaining some of its previous attributes. This includes a delightfully relaxed vibe, an absence of snow ponies, and a great value for their price. Whitefish Ski Resort also offers quick access to the neighboring Whitefish Montana town, which also boasts a laid back atmosphere. The ski destination has managed to maintain its old-school character, despite being a trendy resort with posh restaurants and shops.
Whitefish Mountain resort offers 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, sprawling across three primary faces. It is suitable for virtually anyone, with great beginner facilities and a mass of super-fast, super-groomed, thigh melting groomers. The steep trees, bowls, and glades on the mountain provide efficient off-piste challenges for advanced skiers. In addition, there’s ample lodging on-mountain, most of which is opportunely ski-in and ski-out. The main form of accommodation is condos. Staying slope-side is extremely convenient, especially for families and those who do not need an active nightlife or a variety of restaurants.
Big Sky – $211 to $496
This is one of the largest ski destinations in Montana, especially after it acquired 2 adjacent mountains in 2013 – Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin. The total skiable terrain is 5,800 acres. The lifts can accommodate up to 29,000 people per hour, although the maximum number of people on the hill is usually just around 3,000. This means that each person has access to approximately 2 acres of snow. Big Ski Resort can be found in south central Montana, approximately 50 miles south of Bozeman. Guests are treated to modern amenities and a properly-developed infrastructure.
The ski resort also boasts some of the finest terrain in the region for advanced and expert skiers, in addition to a vast network of trails that are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. What’s more, the Resort is home to Yellowstone National Park and offers daily shuttles to its west entrance. It features modern facilities, including a wide range of lodging, shopping, and dining opportunities.
Teton Pass Ski Resort – From $45
Teton Pass Ski Resort is one of the most affordable ski resorts for family fun, located along the spectacular Rocky Mountain Front in Montana. The ski resort boasts around 400 acres of terrain in the Lewis & Clark National Forest. The nearest town to Teton Pass Ski Resort is Choteau. Among the most distinguishable features of the resort is the absence of lift lines and the remarkable back country skiing & snowboarding.
Extras include snowboarding lessons, ski shop, and day lodge. Lunch is served at the Skiers Lane Lounge. Guests are also treated to the Annual rope-n-slope, torchlight parade, family learn to ski day, Kids R Us day, and winterfest. Great falls boasts casual museums and dining. There are about forty three trails in total. The longest run is approximately 3 miles, which takes about twelve minutes to ski down. The ski area has three lifts with an uphill capacity of 3,000 people per hour.
Showdown is the oldest ski area in Montana, with a history dating all the way back to 1936. It is located in the Little Belt Mountains and boasts spacious sun soaked decks, short lift lines, and un-crowded slopes that make it feel like a private mountain. The excellent combination of location and weather ensures dry, light powder on the intermediate runs, challenging slopes, and scenic beginner runs. Guests can test their skills at the new Terrain Park, meander along the soft rolling Golden Goose, hit the bumps on Glory Hole, or carve their way down the King’s Ridge.
Showdown has a diverse terrain that is suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all ages. The Kids Camp offers 3 days of instruction for skiers aged between 5 and 13 years, as well as boarders from 8 to 13 years of age at just $100. This ensures the children do not miss out on the fun. However, the camp does not include lift passes and equipment. The Base Lodge houses the Showdown Rental shop, skiers edge pro shop, the hole-in-the-wall saloon, and the King’s hill grille. You can also enjoy scenic views at the Top Rock summit while savoring delicious sandwiches, salads, and drinks (hot or cold).